Is Juilliard Dance Right for Me?

I am excited to say that I will be traveling a lot more this year as Dance Admissions Coordinator, and I hope to meet many of you on the road! In addition to attending NACAC college fairs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Interlochen, Minneapolis, New York, and Washington, DC, I will be visiting high school and studio dance programs in and around those cities, as well as in Baltimore and Idyllwild. So I will have many chances to answer your questions in person (although I am always happy to receive your phone calls and e-mails!).

For a complete schedule of Admissions events, both on- and off-campus, click here.

One of the most common (and difficult to answer!) questions I get from prospective students at college fairs is “What are you looking for in a dancer?” Although this may seem like a cop-out instead of a straight answer, I would like to suggest that perhaps dancers should be asking themselves “What are my strengths as a dancer?” and “What do I want out of a college program?” The combined answer to those two questions should drive your college search, as opposed to asking what programs want from you.

If your answer to the first question above is something like “I’m a strong ballet dancer, but I also love modern” or “I consider myself a modern dancer, but I’ve trained a lot in ballet as well” or “I’m a great performer and I can back it up with my strong technique” then Juilliard might be the right program for you.

If your answer to the second question is along the lines of “I want to be prepared for a performance career in a modern dance or contemporary ballet company” or “I want to make a lot of professional connections to the contemporary dance world while I’m in school” or “I want to explore choreography, but also train at a technically advanced level” then Juilliard might be the right program for you.

What Juilliard offers to dancers is the opportunity to train equally in ballet and modern dance, to develop their voices as performing artists, to experience the creation process of both professional and student choreographers, to participate in a company-like process of casting and learning repertory, and to prepare for professional dance careers (generally in the modern or contemporary ballet worlds). If this sounds like what you are looking for in a college program, then Juilliard might be the right program for you!

A few notes on what might make Juilliard NOT the right program for you:

- If you want to minor in dance, or double major in dance and another subject. The Dance Division here has a very intense curriculum and schedule, so you are not able to double major or minor in anything else.

- If you are ONLY interested in classical ballet. Although dancers take ballet class every day at Juilliard, pointe work is optional for women. The amount of pointe work in the program for those who choose to pursue it is not enough to be competitive with dancers who are apprenticing with classical ballet companies. We have had a few graduates go on to dance with classical ballet companies; however, these dancers had equal training in modern dance during their time at Juilliard.

- If your prior dance training does not include any ballet. While our dancers come from a variety of backgrounds and have a range of professional goals, one commonality is that they all have some prior ballet training. We do not teach beginning ballet at The Juilliard School, so applicants need to have enough experience to make it through the ballet class at the beginning of the audition. We do appreciate the additional training and talents that dancers may have in other dance forms, but the program at Juilliard requires prior ballet training.

If you have any questions, or are still unsure whether Juilliard is the right program for you, please feel free to call or e-mail me (or visit the Juilliard table at a college fair!). I can be reached at (212) 799-5000 x506 or danceadmissions (at) Juilliard.edu. I look forward to receiving your application!